Cliffbee.com: Mutant Beast Soundwave Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Soundwave
Series: Beast Wars
Allegiance: Mutant Beast
Function: Warrior
Alternate Mode: Transforms from Bat to Alligator; no robot mode

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Soundwave for this review



BAT MODE
Height: 9.5cm Length: 8cm Width: 19.5cm

   A mid brown bat with yellow markings on his wings and chest - including a Batman-esque one on his chest, Soundwave has a silver Mutant Beast logo on his chest, silver teeth, toes and ears while his eyes are red. The brown plastic has a sheen to it, which I guess matches the silver paint. While I can deal with a lighter brown bat - bat colours do wander into brown - I'm not really sure where the idea of silver comes from. Visually the colours work fairly well, but they're a little too unrealistic here - especially considering they're more realistic than those of his alligator mode. Most of this bat mode has sculpted fur, with some reptile skin on his feet.

   There are some hints of the Alligator mode here. Soundwave stands in a spread-wing pose, as if he's about to take flight. The outside edges of the wings have distinct digits (rather than the digits being evenly spaced wing supports), since these parts become gator feet. The silver toes look like claws because they're alligator claws. The most notable aspect carried over is the curled tail hanging off his back. While it's not that visible from directly in front, it's very out of place on a bat. To be fair, the hinge at its base is designed so it helps Soundwave stand in this mode. It's kibble, but it's kibble which serves a purpose.

   There's some articulation here, although it's a by-product of the transformation. His wings can flap forward and back a little, but moving them too much causes them to come apart. His hips, knees and ankles are all hinged while there are rotators above his knees. Since Soundwave pretty much stands up, this isn't all that useful. Soudnwave's lower jaw opens when you press a button on the back of his head, to reveal a small metallic blue robot face with red eyes. This face looks like it's in pain, which makes sense I guess since the Mutant Beasts are meant to be Fuzors trapped without a robot mode. You can fold down his chest to reveal a metallic blue robotic chest, as well.

   A decent bat mode, although it's not a very exciting one. While the tail is more visible than I'd like, it does act as a third leg - and would have tricky to do much else with at this scale. The choice of silver on his teeth and toes bugs me - and this flaw was easily avoidable. The bat shape is pretty good for a Transformer - they're skinny things which don't lend themselves to hiding robot other modes - so I'm happy enough overall, but I would have been a lot keener about this mode if the colour choices were more sensible.

TRANSFORMATION TO SCORPION MODE

   Lift out the chest, rotate and fold over the bat face, forming the alligator head. Swing down the bat pelvis, unclip the inner wings and fold them in, clipping together to form the alligator belly. Fold up the outer wings, rotate them to form the forelegs of the gator, fold up the bat legs to form his hindlegs and fold the tail down and rotate it. Stand the alligator on his four legs.

ALLIGATOR MODE
Height: 4.5cm Length: 19cm Width: 10.5cm

   Again Soundwave is brown, with some green stripes on his back and red eyes. The claws on his hindlegs are painted silver and those on his forelegs are unpainted - all tan or even white would have been a better choice. I'm not really sold on a brown alligator, but I guess it was either than or a brown bat. Perhaps a colour mid-way? Anyway, the colour scheme isn't very realistic, although it is quite organic. On the plus side, the sculpt is excellent with reptile skin on pretty much every surface, spines running from neck to tail and visible teeth.

   The shape here is pretty good, aside from the huge front feet (which double as wings). The tail curls around to the left, the jawline looks like that of an alligator while the teeth are fairly even (unlike crocodiles). The mouth is slightly open. In theory the upper jaw can open to reveal detailed sculpting inside his mouth - but the joint is only free to move in mid transformation. His tail is reduced - it's very narrow compared to the giant tails of real alligators, which is I guess an attempt to reduce the kibble in bat mode.

   The limb poseability is pretty good, even if his head and tail don't move. There are ball joints on all four hips, rotators and hinges on all four legs, hinges on his rear ankles and rotators on his front ankles. The range of motion isn't that impressive since he's low to the ground, but it's enough to allow for some play value. There are some odd poses which really give Soundwave character made possible by the large feet at the front.

   The shape here isn't as good as that in bat mode and the colours aren't as realistic, but the sculpt is excellent and the overall effect works fairly well. The huge feet at the front hurt what is otherwise an admirable effort, and the choice of such a pure brown doesn't help. It's not awful, but this is a pretty mediocre beast mode by Beast Wars' overall standards.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of.

OVERALL

   One of the most notable aspects of this Soundwave is what he's not - there's pretty much nothing linking him to G1 Soundwave. Aside from that, his bat mode is an admirable effort, although it's not fantastic it's a good effort. The silver paint in bat mode and odd front legs in alligator mode really hold him back - Soundwave is a decent effort but not a great toy in the end - 5/10

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